Similar traits found in both biomass, shale feedstocks

18 June 2013 07:44  [Source: ICIS news]

MONTREAL, Canada (ICIS)--Biomass and shale feedstocks share key similarities, an industry research director said on Monday.

Both types of feedstocks are thinly dispersed over vast areas throughout the US, are expensive to ship and are cheaper to burn, said Mark Bunger of US-headquartered firm Lux Research, adding that they also require complex, capital-intensive conversions at refineries.

“One of the other similarity is [that] there is a lot of hype around both,” he said at the World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology conference.

“I know shale gas is definitely top of the line for a lot of people today,” Bunger added. “This will come back, and it will be reflected in chemicals.”

Companies and groups that are benefiting from shale are saying Americans will gain energy independence with the US as a top producer, while bioproducts industries are also claiming that ethanol can be the solution that works for the world or that algae can fix the future of energy.

Still, the bioproducts industry is facing opposition from oil and food industries and other concerns, while some chemical companies are asking the government to limit exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as they attempt to protect their strategic interest in gas.

Bunger said these are some issues companies need to consider when developing upstream and downstream partners and deciding which way to go.

The World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology conference runs through 19 June.

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By: Tracy Dang
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